When customers search online for certain keyword phrases, Google may display a list and map of local businesses. See the image below for an example based on a search for “MA Custom Home Builders”. This function is from Google Places and gives businesses that register an automatic advantage!
Advantages of Registering for Google Places
Not only is Google Places a free service, but it truly helps your business stand out. You can list your address, website, business overview (including hours of operation), and other useful information. Google automatically displays your location on a map. Best of all, this appears at the top of the results page above organic search results for the keywords entered. Try running a search for your type of business and see which companies are displayed. You may find that most businesses have not yet registered, so this is a way to get ahead of your competition.
Things to Keep In Mind
There are a few requirements and restrictions that you should know about before getting started. First, you must have a physical location to register your business for Google Places. If you have multiple locations, you can certainly register each one separately. For real estate agents and other professionals working from home, you may use your home address and “hide” it from public display (by designating it as a service area). A physical address is still needed, but it does not have to be made public.
How to Register for Google Places
Registering for Google Places will NOT take effect immediately. Google goes through a verification process, which is why a physical mailing address is needed for the location you are registering. Here are the overall steps:
- Visit www.google.com/placesforbusiness and log in with your Google username and password. If you do not have one, you can create one for free.
- Fill out the form for Google Places registration. Be sure to enter the correct information on your business including the type of industry and services you provide.
- Google will send a letter to the mailing address you entered (which also coincides with the location you are registering). The letter will contain a PIN.
- Upon receipt of the PIN, follow instructions in the letter to complete your registration.
- Your business will then appear on Google Places based on the information you entered.
Complete this process to benefit from the advantages of registering for Google Places!